Thursday, July 31, 2008

Teenagers and Food

From ABC:

The federal government has had a look at young people's diets-- not just what they put in their mouths-- but also the steady diet of advertising-- spoon fed them by the food industry. A study out finds that-- in both cases-- the kids are on overload.

We've all seen them- commercials that blur the lines between products-- but do these ads encourage kids to eat fattening, sugary snacks? Concerned by the growing rates of childhood obesity- lawmakers ordered an investigation into the marketing practices of the nation's leading companies. In a report released this week, the Federal Trade Commission found that the largest food and beverage companies spent about $1.6 billion in 2006 marketing to children.

Mary Engle with the Federal Trade Commission said, "In 2006, about 80 films, TV shows and video games, were used in marketing food to children and teens." Promotion of movies like "Superman returns" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" were prominent that year. Based on their data, the FTC recommended that companies adhere to nutrition-based standards in their marketing. Even before the report came out, more than a dozen major companies, including ABC News' parent company Disney adopted nutritional guidelines.

Some experts say more companies need to get on board. Margo Wootan with the Center of Science in the Public Interest said, "There needs to be one national nutrition standard for food marketing to kids that all food companies, fast food restaurants, and entertainment companies adopt." The FTC acknowledged that childhood obesity is a complex problem- and can 't be blamed on advertising alone. They said fewer physical education programs and a more sedentary lifestyle are also to blame.

My son in particular is very fascinated with commercials about food on TV. He has asked me for stuff I have never heard of! I have learned NEVER to give in to some things. Otherwise he will ask me for that certain sugary, fattening snack every second of every day. How about you? Are your kids influenced by food marketing?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Jennifer said...

Oh, I think they definitely are and we have discussed commercials a lot, starting when they were very young. But even with the knowledge that the commercials are there to try and make them want a product, it's still hard for them to resist.
The hardest part is that 99% of the commercials are for processed foods. You rarely see a commercial (other than eggs, beef, and dairy) for apples, grapes, carrots, broccoli and the like... (Oh, and the characters-with little kids the cartoon/tv characters are such a draw, less so, it seems with teenagers)

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